Hello and welcome to our website.
We are SOS- Survivors of Stroke, and our main aim is to help and inspire other stroke survivors, we also want to raise awareness that strokes can happen to the younger generation, and also educate and inform everyone on strokes.
SOS is made up of two stroke survivors, Ashley (24) and Lee (31), both are extremely determined individuals and want to prove that stroke can be beaten.
Ashley was a healthy, active teenager (17) enjoying college with friends, when on April 16th 2011, whilst behind the wheel of a car on a driving lesson he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. He lost function of the whole left side of his body immediately and after taking a sip of water and it falling out of his mouth, he suddenly knew that something wasn’t right stating ‘I’ve had a stroke’.
Ashley then spent three weeks in the Queens Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham, suffering from the worst migraines and pain imaginable, whilst also trying to come to terms with what had happened to him at such a young age. After leaving hospital the recovery journey began almost straight away, as Ashley was always of the mindset you can always achieve anything if you put your mind to it and never give up.
It was a frustrating and tough recovery journey but little by little and with endless physio at home with family things started to improve, and after a year Ashley had regained function in his left side and his world was slowly but surely piecing back together. After undergoing stereotatic radiosurgery to fix the original brain AVM that caused the stroke, he then started to get back to normality.
A year and a half after the stroke Ashley started university, and three years later graduated in a course subject he really enjoyed. Fast forward two years and Ashley was back behind the wheel of a car attempting to conquer the debilitating psychological fear of driving. Following a refresher course taken at his own pace, he passed his theory and practical test with flying colours, both on the first attempts in ‘one of the biggest moments of my life’. Ashley has now been driving for a year, alongside this he has completed a Tough Mudder, a 56 mile trek in 24 hours, two fundraising campaigns and been travelling with his girlfriend Emma to amazing places. Since his stroke Ashley has realised that life is so short and you need to enjoy every day and make the most of everything, and now wants to help give back to other stroke survivors through SOS- Survivors of Stroke.
To this day, seven years on, Ashley only has slight weakness in the tips of his left hand and an ache in his left side, and he so happy and thankful to have recovered so well. He also still does daily physio, to make sure there is no regression and to keep beating stroke. You can all do the same! Stroke can be beaten, just never give up and you can do it.
Lee’s stroke occurred a lot more recently than Ashley’s, less than a year ago, on 28th June 2017. He was in hospital due to complications with heart and blood pressure, when, without warning Lee suffered an Ischemic stroke, ‘it came straight out of the blue and it was very difficult to come to terms with and with what had happened to me’.
Being in the first year of recovery, Lee is still coming to terms with what has happened to him and recently has suffered a TIA, however he is doing incredibly well and slowly but surely getting back to normality little by little with constant physio and hard work.
His road to recovery has been extremely tough, still working through certain side effects of the original stroke, including loss of feeling and reduced strength in his left arm, AF (Atrial Fibrillation), a slight speech impediment (stammer/stutter) and mild memory loss. But Lee is not a quitter and has his sights set on many things he wants to return to in his life post-stroke, such as driving, work and art.
Before his stroke, Lee had always been creative, having an incredible artistic talent since a young age. He was able to draw from memory, design things and even get these designs onto canvas prints and t-shirts. Unfortunately, this had taken a back seat for the last year as recovery from the stroke was first and foremost. However, Lee always kept it in his mind that he wanted to return to his artistic skills. Whilst trying to pursue this in the early days after his stroke, things did not seem to work very well at that time, stating ‘I became very annoyed and cried a few times, just not being able to do it’, but he never gave up altogether as he didn’t want to lose his amazing self-taught talent. Recently Lee has picked up pencil and paper and everything just came flooding back, to create some incredible art. This just shows that post-stroke you may forget how to do some things you were able to before, but it is not the end of the world, do not give up, your brain just needs time to retrain, it may take time, but let Lee’s story be an example to you that you can get your talents back.
Another few big achievements for Lee to come post-stroke that he has his eyes set on are driving and returning to work, the later he has already achieved! In such a short space of time since the stroke, Lee has come on leaps and bounds and is ticking off post-stroke achievements one by one.
In the near future Lee is also looking to complete a fundraising campaign to raise money for stroke charities, which will also be a huge achievement for him to be in a place in his recovery to be able to give back to others that have been through what he went through.
Lee wants to prove that stroke can happen to anyone at any age and this definitely includes the younger generation. He wants to work hard to get rid of the stigma that strokes only happen to older people alongside Ashley. Stay positive everyone and remember, you can control your journey and how you end up!